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Democrats conclude federal lobbyist like Moran can lead state party

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

A lawyer for the Democratic Party of Virginia has concluded that a state law barring lobbyists from serving as chairmen of state political parties applies only to those registered to lobby state government and not to federal advocates, clearing the way for former Alexandria delegate Brian Moran to continue a campaign for the party's top job.

In a letter to members of the Democratic State Central Committee, outgoing party Chairman Dick Cranwell said he would allow the legal advice to "guide my decision-making through this process," presumably meaning Moran's candidacy will be allowed to proceed. Former Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman Peter Rousselot is also seeking the job.

The opinion was rendered by attorney Neil Reiff of the firm Sandler Reiff and Young. Cranwell indicates in his letter that he sought Reiff's opinion because Seth Stark, the party's usual general counsel, has contributed money to one of the candidates for the position. (That would be Moran.)

Cranwell also used his letter to make a plea for "civility and respect" as the chairman election proceeds. His comments come as Moran has been the subject of harsh criticism on the state's best-read liberal blogs in recent days.

"As the election process for a new Chair moves forward, I would ask that all the candidates encourage among their supporters a sense of civility and common decency," Cranwell wrote. "By focusing the discussion on ways to improve the organization, and discouraging personal attacks, we can all take shared ownership in the future success of the party -- regardless of who is elected Chair."

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | November 8, 2010; 4:01 PM ET
Categories:  Brian J. Moran, Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: Democrats will sit out the race for Robert Hurt's Senate seat


A timely bit of news. I'm interviewing Brian Moran at 7 pm tonight (Nov. 8th) on Inside Scoop about his candidacy for the DPVA chair. There is a live stream of the interview at and the recorded interview will be posted there as well.

Posted by: csread | November 8, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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